The seven rpgs trend has been going around lately. I've done a few over on G+ but I decided to do one covering the seven games that have been the most influencial to me.
- Dungeons and Dragons red box edition.
For me this was the perfect simple fantasy rpg. It was rules light before the idea or term had started to see any use at all. All the extra trappings and complicated charts that other games seemed to require just aren't in here. While not that realistic it makes up for it in sheer ease and fun of the system. Creating your own stuff to go along with it was a breeze and, back in the day, nearly everyone knew the basics of the system. Most fantasy games that I have ran use this rules set and the other color coded boxed sets.
- Twilight 2000
Because games just aren't fantasy. Having family and friends with a military background (I knew military time in grade school) really made this setting stand out to me. While the rules got a bit odd in places and character generation had it's own separate worksheet it still worked. The initial modules were pretty well done as well all connected with the common goal of finding your way back home to the United States. They were also set up with a familiar design to that of early D&D modules where you had some new stuff to use in each one.
- Vampire: The Masquerade - 1st edition
I bought the original first edition rulebook very near it's release date due to a review in Dragon magazine. They reviewed it and Dark Conspiracy, almost went for DC because it was from the same folks that made Twilight 2000. Thankfully I passed that one up. Vampire was different and where it wasn't different it at least tried to be different. Putting a lot of emphasis on roleplaying and exploring your character and the setting. The entire book had a “Let's get serious” vibe about it. Daring you to try to make your games something more. It was the first game I ran where I had players ready to go at any given time. My first successful game as a GM.
- KULT (1st edition is the best IMHO)
The best horror game I've ever ran hands down. It took a while for me to get players into it but once I got the ball rolling it just kept going. Loved the setting, the cosmology and the overall feel of the game. It was MY horror game. I've pulled the setting into other games more times than I can count and to this day I still put things into the framework that is presented within it's pages. However it's also a game I can no longer run, burnt out hardcore for a number of reasons. I supported the game for years online, through help with the Abyss, setting up and running a forum for it when Target Games shut theirs down (quite successful forum for a long time also), writing plenty of fan material and just trying to keep the fanbase interested and growing. Now all that job is up to somebody else... if anybody wants it at all.
- Cyberpunk 2020
Hell yeah mother fuckers. Chrome, attitude, guns, computers, style, substance and everything else that made me love the cyberpunk literary genre all in one game. Pondsmith had me hooked within a couple of pages I won't lie. Pretty straight forward rules, character generation with a nice bit of random tossed in with the lifepaths, some great artwork and all sorts of tech. When it comes to science fiction books I always leaned towards cyberpunk once I discovered it and I did the same when it came to science fiction games. Yes its a bit out dated now, but man it was fun playing and running the chrome and neon future.
- SLA Industries
A mix of various types of scifi elements all into one setting. Without the gonzo aspect of games like Rifts of course. Again a game where I loved the setting, especially some of the mystery, that the rulebook presented. It felt like by explaining a lot they managed to leave even more open to do your own thing with. The main book and Karma are two books that will never leave my gaming library. While some folks threw a fit when 'The Truth' came out it didn't phase me at all. It just didn't have any affect on my games, or most of the games I was playing in.
- Little Fears 1st edition
Hands down, without a doubt, the one game I ran with the most success ever. I had multiple campaigns going at once, had a waiting list for players at the ones I ran at the local game shop. When I first heard about Little Fears I was the opposite of this, I didn't think it would work and was pretty doubtful. But the year it was released at Origins was the first (and so far only) time I made it to that con. So I ended up picking up a copy and playing in one of the demos being ran... and the hooks were set in pretty deep. Jason Blair had made an amazing game, it really caught my players as it had me. Playing little kids in a fight for survival against a supernatural world on the other side of the closet doors, simply awesome. Jason even named an NPC in a pdf adventure after me, I took that as a big shiny badge of honor, hell I bragged about that one even.